Supportive Child Care Subsidy Policy Statement
The Supportive Child Care provider will maintain frequent communication with the child's parents regarding his or her progress in the program, and will consult with parents regarding decisions about the child's care. The Supportive Child Care provider will encourage the parent(s) to participate in the program, to visit at any time while their child is in attendance, to be involved in the planning and development of their child's individualized plan, and to evaluate the services.
The Supportive Child Care provider must update the child's individualized plan quarterly and must schedule conferences with parents at least quarterly to discuss on-going observations and assessments, and to review the child's progress in child care. For school age children, two conferences per year may be by telephone. The Supportive Child Care provider must document case conferences in the child's case record or efforts to communicate with parents if those efforts are unsuccessful.
Risk Assessment and Reporting Abuse and Neglect
The Supportive Child Care provider must be vigilant in monitoring and assessing risk factors for children in care, in communicating concerns to the DCF social worker, and in working with the DCF social worker to manage these situations within the context of the Supportive Child Care program.
Supportive Child Care providers are required by law, as mandated reporters, to notify the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of their concerns of abuse or neglect in accordance with M.G.L. c. 119, Section 51 A. When in a professional capacity a Supportive Child Care provider has reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of 18 is suffering from abuse or neglect or is at risk of abuse or neglect, the concern must be reported to the Protective Screening Unit at the DCF Area Office serving the child's residence, or after hours and weekends to the Child At Risk Hotline. Supportive Child Care providers must report any physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse, including sexual abuse; or any indication of neglect, including malnutrition; or any instance in which a child is determined to be physically dependent upon an addictive drug at birth. 1
In addition to reporting concerns to the Protective Screening Unit (or Child At Risk Hotline), the Supportive Child Care provider must inform the child's current social worker, and maintain a written notation of the report in the child's case record.
When a child does not attend Supportive Child Care, the provider must contact the child's parent to determine the reason for the child's absence. If the Supportive Child Care provider has concerns about any child's absence, the provider must contact the DCF social worker or his/her supervisor (or the area child care coordinator if the provider is unable to contact social work staff). The DCF social worker will re-determine with the family and the Supportive Child Care provider the appropriateness of continuing Supportive Child Care, and/or make recommendations for appropriate interventions or referrals for additional support services as needed. The Supportive Child Care provider must record in the child's record all attempts to reach the parent or guardian, the DCF social worker and the area child care coordinator, as well as dates of actual contact.
If absences continue for more than ten consecutive weekdays or if attendance is sporadic, the provider must report the lack of attendance to the DCF area child care coordinator for further follow up with the DCF social worker to determine if enrollment will be continued or terminated.
When absence is due to a medical condition that is expected to continue for an extended period of time (more than ten consecutive week days) the DCF area child care coordinator will, upon discussion with the social worker, terminate Supportive Child Care, and notify the provider. When the child is able to re-enter the program the social worker will initiate another referral for care. The DCF area child care coordinator will contact the program from which the child was terminated to request that the child be re-enrolled when the next Supportive Child Care slot becomes available, or through Supportive Flex Pool funding based on availability of funds (See P-EEC-Supportive-18: Supportive Flex Pool).
Ongoing Assessment and Referral
The Supportive Child Care provider must provide regular updates to the DCF social worker by telephone as issues arise. Such issues may include:
- risk assessments
- the child's adjustment to child care
- health concerns
- new information related to the family or issues that may jeopardize continuation of the child's Supportive Child Care
The Supportive Child Care provider, in collaboration with the DCF social worker, will make appropriate referrals to community resources to address the family's other identified needs when applicable. The Supportive Child Care provider will help families access available resources to fund needed services.
Quarterly Progress Reports
In order to alleviate family stress and strengthen families, it is necessary for the DCF social worker and the Supportive Child Care provider to work together to serve the child and family. Supportive Child Care providers will maintain regular contact with the DCF social worker assigned to the family to report on the child and family's progress on the child's individualized plan. Such reports will include information and observations about the developmental goals the child has achieved, the program's interactions with the parents, and the parents' interactions with their child while in care.
Observations about the child's daily behavior, social and family interactions and assessment of the child's developmental progress are important information that should be incorporated into the DCF case record and considered by DCF when making decisions about permanency planning for the child. Therefore at least quarterly, but more often if needed, the Supportive Child Care provider must submit a written progress report to DCF. 2 Depending upon the area Department's preferences, the provider shall submit the report to either the DCF area child care coordinator for distribution to the appropriate social worker, or directly to the DCF social worker.
The Supportive Child Care provider must maintain copies of progress reports in the child's file.
In order to maximize the use of Supportive Child Care, the Supportive Child Care provider must:
- immediately notify the DCF area child care coordinator (or the area administrative manager or designee, if the area child care coordinator is unavailable) whenever a vacancy is anticipated in the program; and maintain a written log of such contact;
- notify the DCF area child care coordinator of the child's actual start date and last date of enrollment;
- at the beginning of each month alert the area child care coordinator of those children that need reauthorizations, so that the coordinator can assist social workers to ensure that reauthorizations are completed on a timely basis;
- e-mail a report weekly to the EEC Policy & Training Advisor regarding utilization (the number of supportive contracted slots, the number of supportive vacancies and the number of children on referral by program type) along with an agency summary of all slots when more than one program type is under contract for Supportive Child Care; and report vacancy information from the previous month to the EEC Accounting Unit as part of its monthly billing submission.
The Supportive Child Care provider must ensure that its family child care providers and/or program staff have access to mental health consultants or clinical social workers who are knowledgeable about the needs and behaviors of children receiving services from DCF. The mental health consultants or social workers will help the provider's staff and/or family child care providers develop plans to address children's behaviors and/or identify other community resources to assist in addressing issues as they arise.
Quarterly Collaborative Meetings
The Supportive Child Care provider will participate in quarterly meetings with other Supportive Child Care providers, representatives of DCF and the Regional EEC Policy and Training Advisor. Meetings are chaired by the EEC Policy & Training Advisor to address common concerns and interests.
Supportive Child Care providers will submit monthly to EEC all documentation required for reimbursement for services rendered during the previous month. Details regarding billing are outlined in EEC policy P-EEC-Supportive-19: Reimbursement.
Supportive Child Care providers must report compliance with performance measures to EEC periodically, as stipulated in their contracts.
1 Refer to the Massachusetts Department of Social Services brochure, "Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting: A Guide For Mandated Reporters", which can be accessed on the DCF website
2 Reports should be sequenced to coincide with DCF's Progress Supervisory (quarterly) and/or Foster Care Reviews (every six months) whenever possible. Providers will be expected to attend such meetings when invited to attend (See P-EEC-Supportive-08: Case Management and Reauthorization.)
Information provided by the Department of Early Education and Care. Created: October 25, 2002.